Coal Still the Cheapest Power Source Despite Increases

Posted by Joe Lucas at 5:34 pm, August 05, 2008

It seems everything costs more these days. Milk, eggs, gas
and even coal – the price of each of these commodities has risen in the last
few months.

And as we all know, the media loves to point this stuff out.
There are articles and news reports like
this one
nearly everyday, telling us that as the price of fuel goes, so go
our electric bills.

But one important fact is often left out, which is that even
with price increases coal is still by far our cheapest full source. Here’s how
some of our major energy sources stack up based on the average cost in dollars per million Btu for 2007 (annual
average for the full year):

Coal — $1.78
Petroleum liquids —
Natural gas — $7.45

(You can take a
look for yourself at

like these make it clear that we need to continue to develop carbon capture and
clean coal technologies. Finding better ways to use our most affordable and
abundant fuel source will not only help us keep America running, it will help ease
the costs of doing so.

4 Responses to “Coal Still the Cheapest Power Source Despite Increases”

  1. Maty Hardy says:

    Thank you for you Rebublicans, for standing up against Pelosi and fighting for a GOOD energy program

  2. AJ says:

    Yes it is cheap but if you take the damage it has done and the total cost of using coal then coal and fossil fuels are the most expensive. Imagine, the days when dumping wastewater was almost free…this caused widespread groundwater and surface water pollution. with proper policies in place the cost went up some but LOOK our rivers and beaches are cleaner today and getting better and the cost of water treatment is not too bad! the same needs to be done with energy policy

  3. The Cunctator says:

    Isn’t the sun and wind more abundant than coal?
    What ACCCE isn’t telling you is that the price of coal in the commodity markets has tripled in the last year — and since coal is sold on long-term, multi-year contracts, consumers are insulated from these price hikes only until they explode, like subprime adjustable rate mortgages.

  4. Rod Adams says:

    Your list of fuel is suspiciously missing a key source of heat – commercial nuclear fuel.
    Here is a more complete version of your table:
    Commercial nuclear fuel – $0.45
    Coal – $1.78
    Petroleum liquids – $9.21
    Natural gas – $7.45
    The cost for nuclear fuel includes “the amortized costs associated with the purchasing of uranium, conversion, enrichment, and fabrication services along with storage and shipment costs, and inventory (including interest) charges less any expected salvage value”. (Source: Nuclear Energy Institute)
    The cost for the carbon based fuels listed does not include any provision for carbon capture and storage.
    Now – which is the cheapest fuel of all?